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How International Students Can Begin a U.S. College Search

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,223 Senior Member
"Chinese national Kexin Zhen says she first learned about U.S. liberal arts colleges during a meeting with her high school counselor.

From then on, Zhen focused her college search on this type of school, which offers a more general education for undergraduates in the humanities, sciences and social sciences, as opposed to having a professional or technical emphasis.

'I didn't really know my major and my career direction, so I preferred to go to a liberal arts college,' she says.

Now she's a rising junior at Wheaton College, a liberal arts school in Massachusetts.

Narrowing the scope of a college search is important because in 2015-2016, there were more than 4,500 colleges and universities in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That's a lot of schools to choose from.

Here are some steps prospective international students can take to begin an effective U.S. college search from anywhere in the world." ...


Replies to: How International Students Can Begin a U.S. College Search

  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,572 Senior Member
    The strength of this article is that it encourages international students to consider a broad range of US colleges rather than just the "usual suspects" (Ivies and their ilk) which are always a huge draw for candidates from overseas.

    But finances should be mentioned up front here, and they're not. When I work with domestic applicants, I always say to leave money out of the very earliest stages of the college selection process, even if it must become a driving force later on. However, with international students who require aid, it's a whole different story. The bar is set very high for internationals seeking $$$. Thus international students who plan to apply for aid ... especially if they need A LOT of aid ... must hone in first of all on colleges that do have funds for non-citizens and then on the schools on that long list where their own grades, test scores, and other accomplishments put them at the top of the applicant pool.

    International students who expect financial assistance should not invest all the time and effort described in this article without first assessing how much they or their families can afford to spend each year and then targeting institutions where they will be among the strongest candidates.

  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,474 Senior Member
    Yup, Money is a very important factor for international students.
  • Studious99Studious99 Registered User Posts: 697 Member
    I'm just surprised when international students post on here seeking large amounts of financial aid. US colleges are extremely expensive. Why would domestic schools want to sponsor international students? What's in it for them?
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,474 Senior Member
    edited July 30
    The mission of US schools are unique in that they pursue for diversity, meaning they are willing to fund for international students that are talented and hard working AND will contribute to US society. It's not just because they want to be nice.

    However, many international students seem to forget or not know it.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 29,745 Senior Member
    edited July 30
    @studious99 : recruiting the best students worldwide means worldwide influence. Soft power is hugely powerful.

    Also, American students live on a continent-country that is also economically dominant. They may have no or little understanding of the world, its various cultures, worldviews, etc. In such a situation, it's easy to be insular without realizing you are.
    Sophisticated thinking such as the top colleges expect from their students requires all students to be able to automatically integrate multiple perspectives. International students provide this in spades and top colleges know that admitting only the children of foreign millionaires and princes will not suffice.

    Part of it is recognizing talent wherever it is: to get financial aid at a top college, a student has to be at least top1% in their country (more likely top 0.1%.) All internationals on scholarship are superstars.

    Finally, the world has become globalized. To function in the 21st century, college graduates need to be used to people from all over the world.
  • ceilingroofgoatceilingroofgoat Registered User Posts: 115 Junior Member
    edited August 1
    @Studious99 Because many stay and work in the US after and donate to the school. Do you think they spend all of that money to just peace out back to China after four years?
  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,474 Senior Member
    Most of those Chinese students who come to US don't need scholarship as much because their parents are quite affluent. So they are not even part of international students who are being sponsored

    Also, many international students who need a lot of scholarhsips to get into US schools are already in the US, and plan to stay in US afterward. So it's not a loss for colleges.
  • EngPIIEngPII Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    @paul2752 is correct: most of the Chinese students have parents who believe spending any and all savings on their (mostly) one child's education is a driving social value. Living in China for so long, I find the kids today applying for undergraduate education do so because it is easier on their relatively prosperous and highly competitive parents (compared to the previous generation) than the many years of hard work needed by parents at night and weekends to help the kids pass the Chinese gaokao, college entrance exam. Chinese parents, if they can, will spend any and all amounts for their one emperor child to have a good education. US, UK, Aus, NZ, Canada are loaded with full-fare Chinese students. Not many looking for or need aid, from what I see from China.

    And most of the fresh grads can't work in the US afterward as the H1-Bs aren't being sponsored by US employers anymore. So they go back to China. And they don't donate money to a school afterward. I'm contacted at least once a month by one of my employees or friends looking for job opportunities in China for their kids with international, mostly US, educations.

    In recent years, with 330k Chinese studying in the US, universities have further differentiated their tuition fees from the traditional OOS/International rate to a higher overall international tuition and fees. State flagships don't receive much contribution from state tax coffers anymore and they make up that revenue with tuition from high-paying foreign kids from Saudi Arabia, China, etc. It's most definitely about revenue, not diversity--even for the highly competitive privates who don't provide need-based aid to foreign applicants. Duke doesn't really NEED 30% of its freshman class from China to ensure global diversity. But the full fare from that 30% works just fine for revenue, all other things being equal.

  • paul2752paul2752 Registered User Posts: 4,474 Senior Member
    @EngPII Exactly. I have never seen a 'poor' chinese student. In fact, I have seen a lot, a lot of Chinese students driving a brand new Chrysler. Too bad they aren't so compliant when it comes to traffic speed lol...
  • EngPIIEngPII Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    I love the kids who come to the US and see that they can buy a used late-model BMW 7-seres (not a kid's car, but a chauffeured car in China and which no kid in the US would ever buy) for like USD 15K of their parents' money. A dream come true and they can send photos home--high status!
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